In Love's Labour's Lost self-denial is in fashion at the court of Navarre where the young King and three of his noblemen solemnly forswear the company of women in favor of serious study. But the lovely, sharp-tongued Princess of France and her all-too-lovely entourage soon arrive with other ideas and it isn't long before young love, with its flirtations, hesitations and embarrassments, has broken every self-imposed rule set by the young men.
Written shortly after he completed the sonnets, Shakespeare's boisterous send-up of all those who try to turn their back on life, is a festive parade of every weapon in the youthful playwright's comic arsenal: from excruciating cross-purposes and impersonations, to drunkenness, fist-fights and pratfalls. Even more, it is a joyful banquet of language, full of puns, rhymes, bizarre syntax, grotesque coinages and parodies, which the company made their own through a unique rehearsal process for performances at Shakespeare's Globe in 2007, and a revival last summer. And appropriately enough, it is a play that Queen Elizabeth the first commanded for her own holiday festivities nearly 400 years ago.